[Federal Register: October 3, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 191)]
[Page 58426-58427]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 58426]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of a Technical Agency Draft Recovery Plan 
for the Puerto Rican Parrot for Review and Comment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability and public comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability 
of the revised technical agency draft revised recovery plan for the 
Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata vittata). The Puerto Rican parrot, 
largely green with a red forehead and blue flight feathers, is one of 
nine extant Amazona parrots occurring in the West Indies. Measuring 
about 29 centimeters (11 inches) in length and weighing about 270 grams 
(10 ounces), this species is one of the smallest in its genus, although 
it is similar in size to other Amazona in the Greater Antilles. The 
current revision of the recovery plan incorporates new information, 
describes actions considered necessary for the conservation of this 
species, establishes criteria (important milestones) for recognizing 
the recovery levels for downlisting from endangered to threatened, and 
estimates the time and cost for implementing the recovery measures 
needed. Partnerships are a key element of this revised recovery plan. 
The Service solicits review and comment on this draft revised recovery 

DATES: In order to be considered, we must receive comments on the 
technical agency draft recovery plan on or before December 4, 2006.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to review this technical agency revised draft 
recovery plan, you may obtain a copy by contacting the Rio Grande Field 
Station, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1600, Rio Grande, 
Puerto Rico 00745 (telephone (787) 887-8769 Ext. 222) or by visiting 
our Web site at http://endangered.fws.gov/[fxsp0]recovery/

index.html#plans. If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments 
by either of two methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and materials to the Field 
Supervisor, at the above address.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments to our Rio Grande Field 
Station, at Calle Garcia de la Noceda No. 38, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, 
or fax your comments to (787) 887-7512.
    Comments and materials received are available for public inspection 
on request, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Fernando Nunez-Garcia at the above 
address (Telephone 787/887-8769, ext. 223).



    Once abundant and widespread on the Puerto Rican archipelago, the 
Puerto Rican parrot is presently considered one of the 10 most 
endangered birds in the world. Since 1973, the number of wild parrots 
has never surpassed 47 birds, and currently stands at a minimum of 28 
individuals mostly confined within the Caribbean National Forest 
boundaries in the Luquillo Mountains. The most abrupt change in 
population numbers since 1973 was caused by hurricane Hugo in 1989. It 
reduced the wild population size from 47 to about 23 individuals. 
Increases in the number of wild parrots have not been followed by 
proportional increases in the number of breeding individuals, which has 
never exceeded 12.
    The Puerto Rican parrot is a fruit-eating cavity nester seldom seen 
far from forests. The decline of the parrot and its restricted 
distribution are due to many factors, mostly the widespread habitat 
loss (e.g., deforestation.) The extant parrot population may have 
retreated to the Luquillo Mountains because preferred lowland habitat 
was destroyed. Due to its nesting requirements, it depends on mature 
forests with large cavity-forming trees. Many stands of cavity-forming 
trees are old enough to meet nesting requirements in the Caribbean 
National Forest. Parrots concentrate their use of habitat within the 
largest remaining area of essentially unmodified forest. However, some 
observations suggest that the parrots are using private areas bordering 
the southern and northern parts of the Caribbean National Forest.
    Despite the present low numbers and limited distribution, many of 
the historical threats, such as nest competition and predation of eggs 
and chicks by pearly-eyed thrashers (Margarops fuscatus), predation of 
fledglings and adults by red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), 
predation by rats (Rattus rattus and R. norvegicus), parasitism by 
warble flies (Philornis pici), and the impact of hurricanes and 
competition for cavities with European and Africanized honeybees (Apis 
mellifera), have been controlled through management strategies.
    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of the endangered species program. To help guide the 
recovery effort, we are preparing recovery plans for most listed 
species. Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for 
conservation of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or 
delisting, and estimate time and cost for implementing recovery 
    The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed 
species, unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a 
particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act requires us to provide a 
public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment during 
recovery plan development. We will consider all information presented 
during a public comment period prior to approval of each new or revised 
recovery plan. The Service and other Federal agencies will take these 
comments into account in the course of implementing approved recovery 
    The objective of this technical agency draft plan is to provide a 
framework for the recovery of the Puerto Rican parrot, so that 
protection under the Act is no longer necessary. As recovery criteria 
are met, the status of the species will be reviewed and these criteria 
will be considered for removal of the Puerto Rican parrot from the 
Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (50 CFR 
part 17).

Recovery Criteria for Downlisting

    All of the following must occur:
    1. A wild population in the Luquillo Mountains exists, with a 
population size and vital parameters consistent with a trajectory 
towards maintenance. This population will be characterized by breeding 
productivity rates of greater than or equal to 1.56 chicks per nesting 
attempt (wild), and first year survival rates of fledglings and 
released captive-reared birds of greater than 60 percent;
    2. A second wild population in the northwestern karst region 
exists, with population sizes and vital parameters consistent with a 
trajectory towards maintenance. This population will be characterized 
by a breeding productivity of greater than or equal to 1.56 chicks per 
nesting attempt (wild), and first year survival rates of fledglings and 
released captive-reared birds of greater than 60 percent.
    3. The reintroduction/creation of a third population or sub-
population in the Luquillo mountains, or suitable forested area in the 
    4. Nesting and foraging habitats are protected to support growing 

[[Page 58427]]

Recovery Criteria for Delisting

    All of the following must occur:
    1. At least three interacting populations exist in the wild and 
population growth is sustained for 10 years after downlisting has 
occurred. This will allow for monitoring of recruitment events and 
other population attributes in a species that has been characterized by 
highly variable reproductive and survival rates (Snyder et al. 1987; 
Muiznieks 2003). The populations should produce greater than or equal 
to 1.56 chicks per nesting attempt (average rate for the 1990s) and 
their survival rates should not drop below 90 percent for adults and 50 
percent for juveniles. These rates assume that sub-adult survival rates 
are approximately 85 percent, age of first breeding is 4 years, and at 
least 60 percent of the adults engage in reproduction each year.
    2. Long-term protection of the habitat occupied by each wild 
population is achieved.
    3. Collection of the species for commercial, scientific, and/or 
educational purposes is controlled by Commonwealth laws and other 
regulatory mechanisms.
    4. The effects of disease and predation factors are controlled to 
allow for population viability.

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit written comments on the recovery plan described. We will 
consider all comments received by the date specified above prior to 
final approval of the revised recovery plan.
    Our practice is to make all comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home addresses from the record, which we will honor to the extent 
allowable by law. In some circumstances, we would withhold also from 
the record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish 
for us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this 
prominently at the beginning of your comments. However, we will not 
consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.


    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: September 21, 2006.
Cynthia Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
 [FR Doc. E6-16320 Filed 10-2-06; 8:45 am]